Presidential candidate and Democratic representative Tulsi Gabbard became the only Congress member to cast a neutral 'Present' in a deeply divisive and partisan vote to impeach President Donald Trump. This was perhaps the sharpest break she has made from the Democratic Party line while she seeks its presidential nomination.
The presidential candidate positioned herself in the 'centre' as she said she couldn't vote either for or against Trump's impeachment 'in good conscience'. This was after Gabbard's initial support to starting impeachment proceedings against the US president.
“After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no."
Explaining her reasons in a detailed statement, Gabbard said, "I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing. I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country... Tragically, that’s what it has been."
"“My vote today is a vote for much needed reconciliation and hope that together we can heal our country. Let’s work side-by-side, seeking common ground, to usher in a bright future for the American people, our country, and our nation," she proclaimed.
— Tulsi Gabbard for POTUS (@tulsi4potus) December 19, 2019
Trump was impeached Wednesday night by a 230-197-1 vote in the House on the first article and 229-198-1 on the second. No Republican voted in favour of impeachment and the tally in the crucial vote fell largely along party lines, with few defections all on the Democratic side.
On the first article accusing Trump of abuse of power, two Democrats voted against impeachment: Representative Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who is considering switching parties to become a Republican, and Representative Collin Peterson of Minnesota.
Those two lawmakers and freshman Democratic Representative Jared Golden of Maine also voted against the second article, obstruction of Congress.
Conservative Michigan Representative Justin Amash, who left the GOP to become an Independent, voted to impeach Trump on both charges.
Gabbard voted present on both counts, becoming the only Congressional member to do so.
With inputs from The Associated Press
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Updated Date: Dec 19, 2019 08:51:48 IST